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Suicide by Sunlight

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"I want to die while I'm still a vampire...I want to see the sun."

The First: You don't have the strength to kill yourself.
Angel: I don't need the strength. I just need the sun to rise.

Vampires who want to kill themselves tend to do it by waiting for the dawn or walking into sunlight.

There are a lot of reasons for a vampire to get fed up with their undead condition: Who Wants to Live Forever?, What Have I Become?, Horror Hunger, and Warm Bloodbags Are Everywhere just to name a few. However, should they choose to kill themselves and end their undeath, they won't have it easy; being a vampire means they're immune to most methods of suicide except for those that involve extreme force. Sure, Our Vampires Are Different means they vary in toughness and weaknesses, but they're immune to things like poisons, exsanguination just sends them into a feeding frenzy, and hanging or drowning do nothing (no breathing). Even stepping into traffic may not do the job, leaving them a painful heap of broken but still unliving bones. This leaves only things like decapitation, which is impractical since not everyone has a personal guillotine, and self-immolation, which is easy to chicken out of.

For these reasons, suicide by sunlight is the preferred method for a lot of vampires. They'll avoid the hassle by simply going out during twilight and waiting for the dawn, or even just stepping out into direct sunlight mid-day. From a storytelling perspective and for an added and romantic bonus, it's hard to top this method for sheer pathos. There will be a quiet scene as the vampire waits nervously yet resolutely for the dawn, only to break out into screams and flames as the dawn's rays hit. In very rare cases the vampire achieves a level of inner peace beforehand that allows them to ignore the pain and die in peace (and if they're really lucky, the sun kills them so fast they just go *poof*). For extra extra pathos, a loved one of theirs will try to get them to find shelter, only to have them soon mourning over a small pile of ashes that scatters in the wind.

Naturally, this trope only applies in settings where Our Vampires Are Different and has sunlight as a deadly weakness.

Contrast Kryptonite-Proof Suit. See also Undeath Always Ends and Weakened by the Light. Not to be confused with Disappears into Light, which is about characters who dissolve into light after dying.

Should be obvious, but for the sake of fair warning, since this is a trope about suicide, Spoilers abound.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In one story of the manga Beautiful People, a vampire encounters a little girl with blue eyes who had been abandoned in a park. On a whim, he decides to care for the girl. She is unafraid of his vampiric nature, merely pitying him because he can't look at a sunny blue sky, and she tells him that he just needs to look at her blue eyes to see the sky. They grow closer as the years go by, until one day she closed her blue eyes forever. The vampire doesn't grieve because he knows how to find her again. He opens the window to look at the blue sky...
  • On Blood+ the Schiff are a group of people who were used in lab experiments to create artificial Chiropterans(although ironically they resemble more traditional vampires than the chevaliers or the chiropterans themselves, the Schiff are susceptible to sunlight, the chiropterans and chevaliers are not), however, they were a failed attempt and suffered from a disease called "The Thorn" that basically meant that their bodies would end up crystalizing. They were all chased by both cinq-fleche and the chevaliers, in the end, there were just three left, and one of them was suffering an Anti-Heroic BSOD and was showing signs of also having the Thorn. In the end, after Moses (the leader of the group) was able to help Karman (the Thorn afflicted) to come to terms with himself and with the death of his friends, both of them decided to face the sunlight for the first (in years since they were turned into Schiff) and last time. As for Lulu (the youngest of them, and only remaining Schiff) she was put to the care of the main characters after being cured of the Thorn.
  • In part 2 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Straizo kills himself using Hamon after warning Joseph of the Pillar Men.
  • In the backstory of Shindo in Nightwalker, we learn that after an attack on his family, his mother was killed but his little sister was alive enough to be turned. However, when she learned Shindo was responsible for their mother's death, she is so desperate that she chooses to kill herself by jumping into the sunlight, much to his dismay.

    Comic Books 
  • At the end of 30 Days of Night, Eben purposefully lets himself be bitten so that he'll become a vampire; he uses his newly acquired super-strength to kill the Big Bad. Afterwards, knowing that he'll eventually feel the urge to kill/drain his loved ones and probably turn evil, he commits suicide via sunlight.
  • Arguably the most popular stories from DC's Elseworld series is the Batman & Dracula trilogy; Red Rain, Bloodstorm and Crimson Mist. In the third and final installment, Batman no longer feels able to control his lust for blood and invokes this trope in a final act of nobility.
  • Bizarre Adventures #33: Varnae the first vampire in the Marvel Universe eventually grew weary of his existence. After bequeathing most of his power to a young fledgling vampire named Dracula, Varnae stepped out into the sunlight.
  • A Hellblazer two-parter had the King of the Vampires palling around London with some of his undead, murderous buddies, and breaking away from the group to harrow a drunk and desperate John. When John gets a second wind and drags the King out into the sunlight, one of his closest buddies, Darius, feels the King's death, leading another to say he's going for a walk. "And I may be some time."
    Darius: I was about to go out into the sun to follow my king, and then I thought... "If the king of vampires is now dead, what does that make me"?
  • I an I, Vampire story, Andrew meets a female vampire. They have a loving relationship for a while, until she decides to take this way out. They part on the roof of a skyscraper, with Andrew leaving for the shadows, and the woman facing the rising sun. Andrew attempts to do the same later multiple times after his resurrection by the Lords of Order, but it doesn't stick.
  • Preacher: Cassidy chooses to go out this way in atonement. Subverted in that he had made a deal with God to come Back from the Dead as a regular human.
  • Victorian Undead II: Sherlock Holmes vs Dracula: Mina does this after Dracula bites her and seeing how vampirisim has affected Lucy's demeanor after she was turned and not wishing the same to happen to herself.
  • In X-Men Annual #6, Rachel Van Helsing has been turned into a vampire by Dracula. She asks Wolverine to kill her. He hugs her and stabs her with a stake. Before she dies, she sees one last sunrise which turns her to ash.

    Fan Works 
  • Btvs: Seasons Rewrite: Discussed and defied in Season 4 chapter 8, when a vampire who's been chipped by the Initiative begs for a Mercy Kill from Cordelia and Doyle. Doyle asks why he didn't just wait for the sunrise, and the vamp shoots that down, stating that doing so is not pretty, quick, or painless and that burning at the stake would be preferable.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: In "Assault on Wemos", effectively what happened to Wemos, when they chose to teleported from the dark into the sun, although they had no way of knowing that would happen.
  • In Technomad's The Trio Who Returned, Harry, Ron, and Hermione, having become vampires and done what they originally set out to do, sit outside and wait for the sun to rise.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 30 Days of Night: Eben waits with Stella on the morning when the sun returns and is burned into ash.
  • The eponymous Blacula ends his un-life this way, once he decides there's nothing to keep him in the world anymore. (Then he's resurrected in the sequel.)
  • Blade II: After she's infected by the Reaper virus, Nyssa Damaskinos asks Blade to carry her out in the open just before dawn so she can see the sunlight and die while she's still a vampire. When the sun comes up she disintegrates in his arms in a calm and dignified way, in stark contrast to the horrific and bloody end Dragonetty faced when he was executed by exposure to sunlight in the first film.
  • In The Chronicles of Riddick, there's the Furyan Necromonger "The Purifier". Not really a vampire (but possibly could be considered "undead" due to his religion): he commits suicide by walking out into the sunlight of Crematoria. Of course, Crematoria is basically Mercury, so anyone caught in the open would burn like a vampire. Much in line with the rest of this trope, he walked into the sun after explaining to Riddick that he was tired of the brainwashing the Necromongers used to force him to serve them and trusted Riddick (a fellow Furyan) to avenge their people.
  • Daybreakers:
    • The very opening has a preteen vampire girl commit suicide this way because she was not able to grow up.
    • Indirectly, Bromley's daughter Alison also does this. After she is turned, she willingly mutates herself into a Subsider so she will be taken out into the sun and killed by the other vampires.
  • Dracula attempts this early on in Dracula Untold, and much later, though he is stopped by Shkelgim.
  • Innocent Blood. The Friendly Neighbourhood Vampire tries this at the end of the movie but is talked out of it by her human Love Interest.
  • Exaggerated in Let the Right One In when one of Eli's victims realizes that she's turning into a vampire, asks a nurse to open the blinds, and promptly erupts into a gigantic pillar of flame that extensively damages her hospital room.
  • In the third The Librarian movie, Simone does this so that her soul can finally be at peace.
  • Moon Child ends with Sho and Kei being incinerated together in the daylight.
  • My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To: After Jessie dies, Thomas requests that Dwight open the window. Thomas takes off the blanket that had been covering it, and Owen burns in the sunlight.
  • The Promise (2005) has a non-vampire example with Snow Wolf, an immortal from the Land of Snow who must never allow himself to be exposed to sunlight. His suicide involves him casting aside his cloak and getting disintegrated by dawn.
  • Not a vampire example either: in Sunshine, the crew psychologist has a fixation on the Sun and goes out this way after being trapped on the first ship.
  • Theresa & Allison: Discussed by Miranda, who'd attempted it after killing her own parents in a moment of weakness, but was foiled due to heavy rain. At the end, Theresa appears poised to while Allison is pulling her back. It's unclear if she does.
  • In Thirst (2009), the main character decides upon this fate for him and his wife. His wife naturally refuses at first but eventually accepts.
  • Underworld: Awakening- A human character explains to Selene that his vampire wife chose to die this way during The Purge.
  • Vamps: Goody says she considered doing this prior to meeting Stacy.
  • We Are the Night: Charlotte, a depressed vampire, kills herself after her elderly daughter dies through going into the sun, which instantly burns her up.

  • In Fevre Dream, Joshua York tries this after his Horror Hunger gets the better of him. He chains himself up outside, throws the key out of reach, and waits for the sun to come up. It's an excruciating process that takes several hours. He changes his mind halfway through, severing one of his hands to get away in time. Despite being very badly burned, he recovers over the course of a week, and even regrows his hand, much to his surprise.
  • Johannes Cabal the Necromancer: Horst Cabal is arguing with his brother just before dawn; when he decides Johannes is Beyond Redemption, he walks across a plain despite his brother's pleas to get indoors and is Reduced to Dust as soon as the sun touches him.
    Horst: It's almost dawn. I haven't seen the sun in nine years.
    Johannes: [Beat] Dawn?
  • A horrified newly-made vampire tries this in The Last American Vampire. As any reader of the previous book in this world, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter knows, it doesn't work.
  • In the final book of The Last Werewolf trilogy, By Blood We Live, this is revealed to be an extremely common cause of permadeath among vampires. No matter how enthusiastically or reluctantly their condition came about, once they've lived a thousand years or so they almost inevitably expose themselves to the sunlight either through sheer boredom, disillusionment with eternal life, or the emotional weight of living much longer than a human should with a still functionally human mind. At the trilogy's climax, Remshi goes out this way after peacefully reaching what they term "the end of my psychology".
  • Downplayed in Twilight book 2 New Moon: Edward plans to commit suicide this way, but it wouldn't be the sunlight that killed him— instead, after sparkling in public the other vampires would have him Killed to Uphold the Masquerade.
  • In "Passionato" by Sharon Lee, an artist accepts an invitation to become a vampire because being immortal will give her more time to master her art, and then learns too late that this form of immortality includes Creative Sterility.
    "I'm going for a walk," she said. "It's going to be a beautiful morning."
  • In The Saga of Darren Shan Vancha March attempts this while on a drunken bender after a fight with his vampaneze brother. But since sunlight isn't instantly fatal to his type of vampire (and he had been building up a resistance to it), the others have time to drag him back indoors.
  • In The Silver Kiss, which is pretty much the original modern teen vampire romancenote  and much, much better than that description makes it sound, this is what Simon does at the end, having settled things with his prepubescent evil older brother and become somewhat less insane.
  • Possible twist at the end of Soulless. Lord Akeldama (a very old vampire) and Alexia watch the sunset the day before Alexia's wedding. However, since Alexia is a walking supernatural suppression field, Lord Akeldama was effectively a human again and was unharmed by the sun.
  • A vampire does this in book two of the The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries.
  • The demon prince Azhrarn does this at the end of Tanith Lee's first Tales from the Flat Earth book, Night's Master. His seductions of earth women have finally caught up with him, when a girl's fiancé, transformed by him into a horrific monster, lets loose a torrent of hate upon the world. The Hate continues even after the poor boy is dead and is about to consume the earth. In a rare moment of decency, Azhrarn realizes he loves the earth and humanity, not just as a plaything. He goes to where the Hate has made a terrible wound in the sky, sits out in the sun and lets himself be crucified on its rays and burnt to ash. And the ashes of his love banish Hate, bringing a time of innocence like Arcadia to the earth.
  • Played with in the Discworld novel The Truth, where Otto the vampire loves flash photography but the light involved gives him a lot of pain or disintegrates him. He ends up having to carry a vial of blood around his neck that smashes in his remains when he dies, causing him to come alive again.
  • In The Vampire Chronicles:
  • Jander Sunstar plans to greet the sunrise at the end of Vampire of the Mists. Interestingly, the story does not reveal what happens when he does. Later game materials produced by authors other than Christie Golden said that he survived by being whisked away by the Mists. That same source claimed that he continued to want to fight Strahd, however, which he had quite expressly given up on at the end of the novel. Within the novel itself, however, Jander's fate is unrevealed.
  • There's a pair of White Wolf vampire short stories having to do with artists. One kills himself before he can be made into a vampire, in order to avoid Creative Sterility and/or having to give up the sun. One who is already a vampire then becomes obsessed with sunlight and starts staying up late every dawn to try to watch it rise, only barely managing to drag herself away with growing burns each time. The implication is that eventually it will become this trope.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Discussed in Blood Ties (2007), when Henry is watching Nosferatu with Vicki. He explains that it's bullshit that Orlok was tricked into exposing himself to the sun, as every vampire instinctively knows the time of day. By that logic, Orlok knew was he was doing.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In Season 2, Angelus sends a henchvamp to deliver a message to Buffy in broad daylight as part of his campaign of psychological warfare. Why a vampire would agree to do this is unexplained. As Angelus is trying to bring about The End of the World as We Know It, perhaps his minions are swept up in the apocalyptic fervor.
    • In "Amends", Angel tries to do this despite Buffy's pleading, but a miraculous snow shower clouds the sky so the sun doesn't show.
  • In by far the most hypothetical episode of Deadliest Warrior (Zombies Vs Vampires)note , one of the few things the different sides agree on is an accidental version of this trope: if a vampire gets infected by the zombie virus, he would end up a combination of the creatures' two greatest weaknesses - the vampire's sunlight allergy and the zombie's stupidity - and dumbly wander into a patch of sunlight and die.
  • Non-vampiric example: in the Doctor Who story "Dragonfire" the villain Kane, an ultra-low-temperature humanoid alien, melts himself to death by exposing himself to unfiltered direct sunlight, after discovering that he waited too long to put his plans into motion and all the people he intended to take vengeance on were already dead.
  • Forever Knight:
    • In "Last Act", a female vampire friend of Nick Knight does this; it's assumed to be Spontaneous Human Combustion by a witness. Given that the case of the week involves an apparent suicide it starts Nick wondering if he should solve his problems this way as well.
    • In "Can't Run, Can't Hide", a Vietnamese vampire who LaCroix brought over so he could get revenge on the US Army squad who slaughtered his village does this after the last one is dead (also by suicide over regret of the massacre).
    • The female vampire who turned Vachon and his enemy the Inca into vampires committed suicide by sunlight soon afterward.
    • Nick attempted suicide this way once, only to pull back as he started to burn.
  • Played for Laughs in an In Living Color! sketch where Dracula chooses to die in the morning sun rather than spend another minute with Wanda.
  • Midnight Mass (2021):
    • In the fifth episode, Riley opts to go out this way rather than live as a vampire, taking a canoe out onto the water beforehand so that he can't possibly escape.
    • At the end of the final episode, every other vampire on the island, having burned all their possible places of sanctuary in a fervour, calmly accept this as their fate. The majority of the townsfolk spend their last moments singing the funeral hymn "Nearer My God to Thee", Pruitt and Mildred lie down next to their daughter's body to spend their last moments together, and Ali joins his father Hassan, who's dying of a gunshot wound, for one last morning prayer. Only Bev Keane attempts (unsuccessfully) to delay the inevitable by digging a hole in the ground to hide in.
  • Averted in Moonlight, as sunlight does not cause vampires to burst into flames but merely dehydrates them very fast, usually resulting in a feeding frenzy. Dying this way would take a long time and would be very painful. Self-immolation is much faster (instant, in fact) and much less painful, although at least two old vampires are shown to have survived contact with fire ( Coraline and Lance). The finale does feature a vampire choosing to die by flamethrower with his wife rather than spend eternity alone...
  • Preacher (2016): In the series finale, after finding out about Jesse and Tulip's death after seemingly living a long happy life together, Cassidy decides to walk away from their graves without an umbrella and burn up in the sunlight.
  • True Blood:
    • Godric facing the sun on a rooftop. This suicide by sunlight comes complete with weeping friends, inner peace and dissolving into the light.
    • In the fourth season, a witch tries to make every vampire in Bon Temps do this. She succeeds with a few nameless extras, but most strapped themselves down and rendered themselves immobile to avoid this fate.
    • Shortly after being made a vampire, Tara tries to commit suicide by tanning bed. As her maker, Pam was not pleased.
    • Eric tries to have a Taking You with Me moment with Russell Edgington in revenge for Russell killing his parents 1000 years ago by pretending that Sookie's blood provides a permanent ability to survive the sun. He takes a bite and then walks out. Seeing this, Russell follows suit, only for Eric to reveal that he's already burning up. He then chains both of them with silver handcuffs. However, thanks to the faerie blood, they survive long enough to be dragged back inside. Being 3000 years old, Russell should have gone up like a firecracker.
  • Two Sentence Horror Stories: In "Teeth" Olivia tries to kill herself by walking into the light when Cara calls her a monster upon discovering she's a vampire. Cara stops her though.
  • The Vampire Diaries:
    • Stefan attempts this in the first season, but is persuaded not to do it by Elena.
    • Towards the end of the second season, Elena's biological mother Isobel is mind-controlled into killing herself this way in front of Elena.

  • "Der Graf" (The Count) by German punkrock band Die Ärzte is about a vampire who cannot keep up with modern life (he eats rats because he is afraid of AIDS). The song ends with him crying while sitting on a mountain and waiting for the sun.
  • "Blue Sunny Day" by Jonathan Coulton is all about this. Every night, the narrator stands outside as long as he can, and at the end of the song he finally manages to stay outside until dawn.
  • The music video of Hammerfall's "Always Will Be" ends like this.
  • The Canadian quartet, The Tenors, accompanied by Lindsey Stirling recorded a cover of Queen's'' "Who Wants to Live Forever", the music video portraying the singers as mournful vampires, lamenting their immortal nature and lost love. The video ends with the four, opening their castle's gates and walking into the sunlight to burn.

  • Metamor City: Miriam planned to step out into the sunrise from the moment she discovered she'd been turned by the Vampire Syndicate, but her sire figured out she was planning suicide and gave her a direct order not to.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Rifts: If a Vampire has no way to maintain contact with their home soil in the daytime (either burying themselves in it or having a layer of it in their coffin), they are compelled to stay out until the sun comes for them.
  • Both Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem have this happening regularly, to the point that "watch the sunrise" is a vampiric euphemism for committing suicide. They also use it as a form of execution; it's frequently mentioned that punishments for extremely foul crimes may include being chained to an east-facing wall.

    Video Games 
  • In Castlevania 64, Rosa tries this in her second appearance before Reinhardt stops her. This causes Fridge Horror when you consider that you only see her once as Carrie.
  • Fallen London and Sunless Sea, both set in the same universe, have this as a possibility. Anyone that dies in the Neath and comes back to life (A fairly common occurrence) will be incinerated upon being exposed to sunlight. This is because the Judgements dictate what is and is-not with their light. The Neath shelters you from the laws of death which allows you to come back to life, but the laws suddenly catch up to you if you're exposed to sunlight.
    • For a specific example, Phoebe, one of the sisters from Hunter's Keep in Sunless Sea will ask you to take them to the surface after the fire that killed her sisters. You can also drop them off at Abbey Rock, however.
    • Sunless Skies allows you to cross this with Suicide by Cop. If you attempt to assault The Sapphir'd King, one of the aforementioned Judgements, the King will alter the laws so that you become is-not. The game actively warns you that choosing this will kill you, quite possibly more than anyone has ever been killed in all existence.
  • NieR has a non-vampiric, but still sunlight-vulnerable character. Shade Yonah does this by purposefully emerging from her human host into a beam of sunlight.
  • In The Sims 2, NPC vampires living in apartments originally engaged in a behavior that strongly appeared to be this trope. Actually, they were just trying to mail their rent payments. The bug eventually got resolved.
  • Black Luther from Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption ties himself to a cross and asks the Player Character to open the church's windows so the sun's rays can burn him to dust.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Castlevania (2017): In the series finale, Lenore — having gone past the Despair Event Horizon after losing her sisters and power — chooses death over eternity in a Gilded Cage. So after some parting words with Hector, she walks onto a balcony and calmly waits for the sun to rise, quickly incinerating when it does.


Video Example(s):


Silly Man (Spoiler Warning)

Lenore goes with the rising sun rather than live without her vampire sisters or her power.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / SuicideBySunlight

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